Capitol Hill radio correspondent Dave McConnell is an icon around the hill. If anything is going on, he’s always in the gaggle.
This month McConnell celebrates a whopping 45 years at the WTOP. He came to the station in 1965 and became the full-time Capitol Hill correspondent in 1981.
But don’t expect a party – not because they don’t want to give him one, but because he doesn’t want the fanfare. “He is really quite self-effacing,” said Jim Farley, McConnell’s boss and V.P. of News and Programming at WTOP.
McConnell, who won’t reveal his age but says he’s “old enough to collect Social Security,” says Capitol Hill still entrances him. “Once you think you’ve done everything you can do, something new happens, the so-called underpants bomber, then the upturns in politics, the Harry Reid incident,” he said in a phone interview.
McConnell has zero plans to retire. “As long as I have a seat covering the greatest show on earth, and can witness history being made, I’m going to keep on reporting,” he said. “I get to cover statesmen, scalawags, gentlemen (and gentlewomen) and scoundrels, issues, drama and histrionics.”
His favorites are many. “People who stand out in my mind, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy who I covered and did know personally as a reporter. [Another] on the Republican side would be John McCain. You would certainly think of him. Sen. Robert Byrd — the venerable Sen. Byrd. He has, frankly, such a unique character. … He’s our bridge to the past up here and I mean that in a positive sense.”
So how will he celebrate this monumental occasion? “I will celebrate like I always do by getting up early, working my sources, going to news conferences, going to floor debate, and just keep doing my job,” he said.
McConnell’s anniversary date is January 18.
He is heard weekdays in the morning and afternoon drive times on WTOP on 103.5 FM in the metro, 103.9 FM in Frederick, and 107.7 FM in Virginia and worldwide on wtop.com.